China's steel industry has denied an American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) claim that its mills have received more than $52 billion in government subsidies in the past decade that allowed them to make products cheaper than rivals.
The China Iron & Steel Association, which comprises almost 200 companies, said the AISI's recent report contains "unfounded allegations" against the country's steel sector, the biggest in the world.
The Beijing-based association said it will take measures to protect Chinese steelmakers if the US takes action against them via the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The AISI report said the US and other countries should impose penalties on China through the WTO if the subsidies are not halted.
The report comes as China's steel exports increase. The country's first-half exports of steel products almost doubled year-on-year to 33.8 million tons.
But the association said growth will slow sharply for the full year due to a series of government curbs.
Strong demand and prices on the international steel market are the "fundamental reasons" for surging steel exports.
The association said 82.1 percent of the 125.2 billion yuan in fixed-assets investment in China's steel sector in the first half of this year was raised by steel firms, with the remainder coming from bank loans and foreign investors.
It said privately owned steelmakers produced 127 million tons and accounted for 36 percent of total crude steel production in China in 2005, refuting the AISI accusation that the top 20 State-owned mills control 91 percent of production.
(China Daily August 7, 2007)